This compelling and compassionate film follows Pulitzer Prize nominee Claudia Johnson's nineteen-year quest to penetrate the mysterious silence surrounding the story of Ruby McCollum, well-educated wife of numbers racketeer "Bolita" Sam and the richest African-American woman in Live Oak, Florida, convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to the electric chair for the 1952 murder of her white doctor and alleged lover, state-senator-elect LeRoy Adams.
News of the interracial murder shocked the nation, the state, and the region, escalating racial tension in Live Oak that remains to this day, almost sixty years later.
"It's still an unbelievably controversial hot topic in town," Johnson says in the film's opening. "This story they do not want told." In spite of warnings there will be repercussions – and a terrifying death threat – she believes Ruby's story has to be told because she's discovered startling new information that Live Oak's corrupt white power structure has been covering up since 1952.
A nationally recognized advocate for free speech, Johnson connects deeply to Ruby's story in 1991 when she discovers that the white pow- er structure silenced Ruby, on the stand and to the press. Zora Neale Hurston, who covered the notoriously unfair trial, concluded that "the truth lay on the other side of silence." Johnson wants to know why Ruby was silenced and why she killed LeRoy Adams.
She didn't, as Johnson comes to believe when two courageous African- Americans risk everything and break their long silence.
THE OTHER SIDE OF SILENCE.
Written and Directed by CLAUDIA HUNTER JOHNSON
Produced by DAVE SCHMELING
Executive Producer CLAUDIA HUNTER JOHNSON
Editor JOI MCMILLAN
Original Score by JOSHUA KEELING
Director of Photography ANDREW CHARLES SCHMIDT
Aerial Photography CAITLIN NICOLE WILLIAMS
Documentary Advisor DR. VALLIERE RICHARD AUZENNE
The Ballad of Ruby McCollum
Performed by Peg and Chip Carbone
Written by Peg and Chip Carbone and David Schmeling
Recorded at Reveal Audio - Atlanta
J. David Leonard, Producer
Floor plan of Dr. Adams' office provided by permission of C. Arthur Ellis, Jr., Ph.D. from the publication, State of Florida vs. Ruby McCollum, Defendant.